skonen_blades: (hamused)
The universe is full of life but we’re the aberration
Because we are insane I MEAN we have imagination
Evolutionarily our instincts have propelled us
But soon I fear what made us strong will be the thing that felled us
You see the me in me I think of when I think of me
Is my own brain attempting to achieve duality
When I’m thinking to myself, who am I talking to?
WHO is talking when I DO that? What does my brain do?
People talk about a soul that lives inside our cells
All I know’s that inside me more than one person dwells
The inner fight that haunts our haunted bodies is our fate
Because from birth to death I think it is our constant state
For even though we think a peaceful tribe is our ambition
We cannot help but TO alWAYS succumb to some division
Religions start to have their sects and tribes that form cohesion
Base it on a hatred of the other for some reason
I look down on people who look down on people so
I must look down on me as well but then where do I go?
Each one of us wants fun, belonging, power, freedom, too.
We need to feel included but don’t tell us what to do
We need laws and rules so that we know that we can break them
We give all our emotions names so we know when we fake them
In nature nothing dies of natural causes, it’s ironic.
The old and weak are eaten and to us it seems demonic
But that’s a system working. A systemic ecosystem.
That’s a system that we are destroying with our ‘wisdom’.
Economics don’t exist in forests or the seas
But economics are what’s causing these catastrophes
We have one mouth, eight billion strong, and all it does is feed
It’s bottomless because we’re built with hunger and a need
To live and if I said I didn’t want to I’d be lying
But here’s the truth; that not enough of us on earth are dying
I think the truth is out there and that there is life in space
I think there are planets filled with life that fill this place
Our WAVES and messaGES we spew out to the galaxy
Are noises that will not be understood by any ‘me’
Just card tricks for a dog or television for a cat.
Sure, they’ll stare but they won’t know what they are staring at.
WE might BE uNIQUE beCAUSE we HAVE duality.
A freakish sense of self we call the personality
We put the self in selfie. We just want someone to see us.
But the universe is filled with things that just can’t be us
“To be or not to be” there’s that duality right there
“I think therefore I am” might be a lonely cross to bear.
The truth that I think stands out stark is we were built to spread
Because of our unending need to need our daily bread
We need to go to other planets and to eat them, too
We need to spread like mold spreads spores because it’s what we do
Or else we’ll end up suffocating here on our own gasses
The co2 emissions and the methane from cow’s asses
We’re great at spreading, great at eating, great at rationalizing
We’re great at thinking that we’re great and I’m just realizing
That if the world is a stage and we’re all playing roles
The capability for greatness LIES within our souls
For our duality is what is causing us to die
Because we cannot become one, we always have to lie
There’s one way that we can help the Earth that I believe
1: We have to change and cause we can’t we have to leave.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
I looked into the eyes of my husband. At least, I was pretty sure it was my husband. Ever since The Crash, I haven’t been able to tell.

Our implants and knowledge banks were all erased on that one day. Theories were still being talked about.

Some think a solar wind or some sort of EMP just randomly wiping through space was the culprit. Some think enemy action was responsible and they were scared. Myself, I didn’t really know. If it was enemy action, we were easy pickings and if there were invaders, they hadn’t started invading yet. My bet was on some naturally occurring galactic disruption pulse sweeping through our solar system, a pulse that would’ve been much less dangerous to a pre-net world.

But here on Earth it was a catastrophe. Everyone’s headbox had been erased.

All the ‘soft in my brain has gone blank. It was two pounds of tech in my skull just taking up space, just the same as everyone else now. It had my phone book, my addresses, my schedules, my tutorials, my contacts and e-profiles, and perhaps most importantly, my facial recognition programs.

Including all of my important memories. The ones I wanted to remember most of all. The best ones. All gone. I have only vague, foggy, mists in my head now when I try to glance the past.

Pre-Crash, whenever I met someone, a sparrow-cloud of data spooled across my vision to let me know who they were and what their connection was with me. Everything about them flew up against the windscreen of my eyes and let me know all the relevant details. Previous conversations, secrets we had, times we shared in the past, references to in-jokes, ongoing issues, financial records, and a thousand other points of interest jigging around real time, undulating and updating as we spoke.

As a race, we were the best conversationalists we’d ever been.

More importantly, the elderly and mentally infirm now no longer had to pause to remember forgotten pasts or struggle awkwardly in social situations. Grandmothers could recognize their granddaughters. It was a golden age. It was a time of miracles.

My regular ability to recognize people had atrophied, however. It had for all of us. I know that now.

Ever since The Crash, I couldn’t tell strangers from close friends. I looked at people’s faces and I felt nothing. I knew nothing. I couldn’t tell if I recognized them. Some looked more familiar than others but I had no reference point.

If I did feel like I knew them, I didn’t know from where or what we used to joke about or discuss on a regular basis.

I still knew how to do my job. I was lucky that way. Every day, I see my co-workers and I wonder if we all used to have good times together. I know my name. I barely know how to drive even though I don’t know how to get anywhere without the map implants. I’m lucky I lived close to where I work. But I don’t know my birthday. I don’t know anyone’s birthdays.

On the streets and in the bars, we all stare at each other awkwardly. The few who try to talk to each other usually regret it.

The man in front of me looks really familiar. We have matching rings on our fingers and we both have keys to the same house and that’s pretty much all we’re going by. I’m going to try to kiss him but I’ve forgotten how.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
I drink my tea in a glass so that the milk turns it into Jupiter. I see astronomy in everyday life.

I see the gravity of every situation. I see the orbits of my friends. I see the entropy of our bodies and our plans. I see the black holes of some people’s minds eating everything around them. I see the pulsars of people unable to sleep from unwanted excitement spinning so fast. I see the gas giants rolling around and telling everyone who will listen that they’re really big. I see rings around fingers as people are pulled into a two-star system. I see the white dwarfs, so dense and hard that nothing will affect them.

And amidst the powerful suns, I see the moonlets and debris. The asteroids that haunt the crossroads of the poor parts of towns, drifting with no gravity to call their own, waiting to become shooting stars before they disappear forever.

I see the comets that drift through every once in a while. Either in real life or on the screens around me. A person or a project that reminds us that some orbits are long and different.

On Mercury, a day is longer than a year. I feel as if I get closer and closer to knowing that every birthday.

We can’t account for ninety percent of the universe and we say we only use ten per cent of our brains.

The nebula of our economy is spreading too thin.

Our galaxy is right here.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
It’s called a rift ticket. It’s the assignment you get when you’re not going to come back. Sometimes it’s handed out as a punishment. Sometimes it’s given as a reward. People that have lost their entire family and really want to go somewhere else and they don’t care where, for instance.

Ten broken bottles in the kitchen sink and Sarah couldn’t care less. Flies help themselves to leftover plates of food from two weeks ago. Sarah has watched the wallpaper for a month now, willing herself to forget her child’s dimples and the smell of Steven’s neck. The accident was a small one by this city’s standard. Just two fatalities. The funeral was handled quickly with a minimum of fuss. One long coffin and one short one. Sarah’s daughter was the only daughter and only grand dauther. The funeral didn’t have too many people there.

Her career in the atmoforce tactical support tied her to the military even though it wasn’t a pure combat position. She applied for a rift ticket two days ago after realizing that the wallpaper wasn’t going to change and by extension, neither was this planet or the fact that her child and husband were gone.

Her communicator pinged and a turquoise notification bloomed in the corner of her vision. She blinked to open it, too slowly at first. She blinked quicker to activate it and wiped her hands on her dress in an unconscious school time gesture to look better for the camera phone while it unfolded to take up the top quarter.

Rift Ticket confirmation. Sarah smiled and the notice, scrolling downwards to see the time and place. Tomorrow at four in the afternoon was her gate appointment.

She leaned back and kept staring at the wall, the smile evaporating off of her face slowly as she settled in for the wait.

No need to pack. No need to even change.

The Rift was a crack in the now, a crack in the here. It had been opened by a volley of experimental weapons during the moon independence war. Halfway between earth and the moon, a violet glowing fissure calmly glittered like an aurora borealis around a split in reality. A crevasse from here to no one knows where.

Everyone that went through was given a package of tracers and homing equipment to let the scientists back here know what was happening.

Ten years it had been there. We’d starting sending our garbage through it. We even send a nuclear missile once. Nothing.

Heartbeat and pulse information come back normal on the people that have been sent through but no voice transmissions have come back.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
April 30/30


We’re hiding in the cupboard. We need to admit that we are a disease and spread. We need to spider out from star to star and consume. Staying here is not an option. We were not designed for stagnancy. We need to leave the earth and make husks of other planets. I know we can do it. I have faith in us.

skonen_blades: (gahyuk)
And where do things begin and end? I can’t tell where most friendships started or the precise point where love relationships ended. I remember the first meeting sometimes, I remember the last fight. But the beginning and end were sown sometime before the actual beginning and the actual end. That applies to the creation of life. That applies to the creation of the universe.

We tend to see our personal emotions as separate from physics. I posit to you that they aren’t; that there is a remarkable similarity not only to massive and the microscopic, but also to the ebb and flow of affection and hate between. Pairs and circles, spirals and comets. Inner worlds and outer forces. I am convinced that science will leave it out and that is why they will never discover a universal field equation.

All of us were dreamed into being. Much like the universe. There was no big bang. There was a growth like mold. There was a growth a person catching your interest. There was an inflation like a balloon that is still taking place. There was an inflation like the similar interests you have and the knowledge that you are connected and like-minded.

I’m not saying that planets have feelings and that suns feel regret. I’m not saying that the universe is a caring organism. I’m only saying that similar rules apply. If time is the x, and space is the y, then we are the z, giving it depth merely by observing, even if it’s only to ourselves. Seeing it and trying to interpret it changes the universe whether it knows it or not.

skonen_blades: (Default)
It's a unique experience to be involved in an explosive space decompression. If you survive, you never forget the sound.

It's like something turns the volume down sharply in the middle of the explosion. The screams, the shattering of glass, even the rushing wind, all suddenly has nothing to express itself with. The air becomes thinner and disperses. The medium through which noises travel expands to the point of non-existence and you're left with the silence of space. Even while all around you people are screaming and flailing, alarms are wailing, and everything that was in the room is now clattering and colliding as it spins out into the starry blackness.

And I should know.

We were on our honeymoon in a Galactic Class 8 Yacht on the starboard promenade eating lobster while the musicians were setting up onstage. The bank of space-facing windows were massive. The official reports said there were four hundred and thirty eight people in the hall with us, relaxing and talking to each other. Most of us were wearing our fanciest clothes, pretending that we were wealthy even though this was a discount cruise. Alison and I had waited long to get married. She was thirty-five and I was going to turn thirty-eight in ten days. She looked beautiful as she turned to signal to a waiter for another coffee bulb.

Perhaps the ship was old. Perhaps it was poorly designed. Maybe a safety inspector was hungover and missed something at the previous inspection.

A sharp crunch like someone stepping hard on a champagne flute right by ear and suddenly the wall to my right became ‘down’ and we all fell into space. Fail safes failed, blast shutters jammed and circuit breakers broke.

That is why my nightmares are silent. When I wake up screaming, it’s from seeing my darling wife bloat, freeze, and rupture. In the dream, she screams as soon as the viewing plate shatters, pluming glittering glass dust into space, and keeps screaming as we are both pushed by strong forces into the black. Her hair whips crazily and she kicks like a first time skydiver, reflexively trying to get her balance in mid-air with no up or down. Her scream starts like a fire alarm and very quickly whips down to silence even though her mouth is still wide open. He throat is still vibrating but her voice can no longer travel to my ears.

Other patrons screams, the clinking of silverware and plates, furniture colliding with the instruments of the musicians, they all fade to nothing and the last thing I hear is my wife’s screaming. The last thing I see is her mouth filling with popsicle blood as her lungs shred in their freezing rush to fill the vacuum.

I see it often. Her mouth is a tattooed O on the front of my mind. The nightmare is down to two or three nights a week.

The sticky safety cables that fired out managed to grab me but they missed her. I was reeled in sharply like a fish and I survived. I was one of only six that did. All six of us were paid a lot of money by the company to keep quiet about the accident. We all agreed to take it.

I am back home now with no need to work for the rest on my life. I’ll never go into space again. I need noise around me at all times, even when I sleep.

I cannot stand silence.

skonen_blades: (gasface)
Think of yourself without thought.

If all you had inside was emotions and biological imperatives and you lived in your body like an animal or a professional dancer.

You had sex with people you were attracted to and fought anyone who got in the way. You ate what you could catch and slept when sleep overcame you. You assessed threats, ran or stood your ground accordingly, and had only instinct to drive you.

What if our consciousness was an aberration? What if free will and thought were mutations? What if this gift of perception only served to create a shared illusion we called society?

What if the entire universe is like that? Planets teeming with life that can no more make sense of our radio signals than a deer can understand a phone call.

If that's the case, then what is love? Think of love in terms of not having thought.

If our intelligence is all that's responsible for this love, human love, the love we think we feel, and that love is an illusion, then let's you and I see if we can make this shared perception a reality.

skonen_blades: (Default)
Ode to Time

Oh sideswipe of time, you raucous flow chart, actuarial tabling us from milk and cookies to cancer-ridden hardware we can’t replace. You dancing dog. Your enemies number the ones that waste you. I have known people that have loved fully and achieved mighty goals welcome death with resigned grace. It's the ones that haven’t done what they wanted and can’t see the beauty in their failure that hate clocks as much as witches hate bodies of water and piles of sticks.

Time, you have sandpapered off my corners but I am not yet a wheel. The ride is still rough. The pull of you as I roll downhill feels like gravity. You go by quicker because of your familiarity. Only adventure slows you down. Only effort makes you invisible. Only fun makes you fly.

Records broken create timestamp beasts, children of yours that embarrass themselves until they are broken again. You cannot be divided. We have not yet found your smallest number. You are as unknowably vast to us as space. The fact that we have the audacity to measure you is hubris.

According to us, the Earth is out by a whole day every four years. According to US, the EARTH is OUT by a whole day every four years. What unbelievable arrogance. Foxes don’t know that they are called foxes, lions don’t know that they are called lions, and time does not know that it is comprised of hours and minutes and seconds.

There are no stopwatches in space. The right amount of time to make a sun ignite is merely the right amount. The number of revolutions needed to create a planet is merely the number of revolutions needed. If it cannot be a planet, it will be an asteroid belt. If it cannot be an asteroid belt, it will be rings around a gas giant. Nothing is measured. It merely exists. And time is what enables it to happen.

If there is a God then God is time. Time gives the universe permission to exist and it gives us permission to experience it.

Our human label makers will break one day. And the universe will take no notice. Time will wheel and erode and create and let this universe keep on keepin’ on like the gigantic clock it is. Each nova a tock, each quasar a tick. And there will be no numbers ever again.

skonen_blades: (angryyes)
It was a shock to learn how short their life spans were but not surprising considering how much naked energy they threw off. We do not know how long we live because none of us have ever died, only changed form.

They called themselves Humans. They are beings of fire. They burn so hot. They seemed to be made of pure radiant heat. They seemed impossible. They had special suits to survive in our environment. Those suits protected us, encasing their boiling energy. They called our environment a ‘vacuum’ and spoke of an ‘atmosphere’ where they lived.

An atmosphere that dimmed the stars on their planet (during a period called ‘night’) and made their transport vessels work tremendously hard when taking off and burn with friction when landing. They also had more gravity on their world. Such fragile, determined creatures. It was inspiring.

We have no ‘atmosphere’. Our planet has low gravity. We achieved space travel by jumping hard into the air and returned by waiting. After a time, we came back down.

The humans had names for our parts. They said we were crystalline. Our blood, when we decided to make it liquid, is thick and able to stay flowing in what the humans see as extreme cold. They called it ferrofluid. Our intelligence is encapsulated in each of our particles. They called that nanotechnology. Each tiny particle of us is a switch, able to align or crook tangent to the other, forming solids and liquids. They say that makes our entire race one living ‘computer’.

They said we were -420 degrees Celsius but that’s only because that was the lower limit of their temperature gauges. Down at our temperature, gases become stable liquids and deep inside us, even colder, some solids do, too. Like iron. “Sloshed around like silver paint in a test tube, like molten lead, all granular like a black and white picture of Jupiter with some sparkles thrown in.” one of the humans said.

We took their form at first so as not to alarm them. We were much taller than them and blue but it helped. Though we can take any shape, we haven’t tried many.

The humans have imagination. They showed us their engineering and architecture data. The math of load-bearing weights and geometry was something we knew instinctually, much like a human catching a ball wouldn’t consciously figure out the parabola and the necessary arc needed to intersect and catch it. We are angles, from our tiniest particle to our largest forms. They showed us flimsy carbon strings they called 'diamond'.

We extrapolated. We improved.

We can make fusion reactors the size of what they call a fingernail. And then we make more. And then we attach many of them together. We do not have to use ‘tools’. We are the tools. We are the systems.

They have told us how to get farther. They didn’t know how to build those machines. They only had theories. They showed us.

We extrapolated. We improved.

We have the ability to create stable holes in space now that help us slide further when we ‘jump’. They have star maps that tell us where to go.

We let them travel inside us in special chambers to go far, to go where they wanted to go, to explore and record together, each experience filling up the cels of our cathedral spaceship bodies.

It’s only fair.

skonen_blades: (borg)
My model number is SAN7-8V/. That’s San-seven, eight-vee-slash. Slashers, they called us. Fierce name for a gang of decorations.

We were the featured models voted ‘best’ and allowed to be built by the birthing factories after that cycle’s design competition sixteen orbits ago. During that time, a neo-aestheticism was taking place. The Great Construction had passed and The War was yet to come. My model was a symbol of that middle era. A symbol of hope and the ability to create something of pure beauty without much utilitarian use. It was a time of peace all over the world, my birth was.

Because of that, I’m white curved polymers spun around plasticable mesh anchored to minimalist jointwork. A sheen of seranano makes sure I’m constantly shiny. I am graceful and pretty to look at.

I can’t lift more than average, I have no factory-issue weaponry other than my few sharp edges, and I am not exceptionally intelligent. My applications for upgrades are granted on a ‘for those according to their need’ basis so I’m rejected more times than not unless it’s related to my job.

My job. I should say my jobs, plural. There have been a lot. I was built to be pretty but not for a purpose. I was too fragile for the reactor floor and I lacked the hull tensile strength for atmospheric re-entry. I worked my way down the chain of importance to here.

I was a snail-catcher. I watched the skies through the telescopes for slower-than-light vehicles of non-silicate origins. So far, there had been none. I had no co-workers. The other models of my year were all destroyed during The War, useless as we were. Bright white makes for horrible camoflauge and dumbness equals death.

So now I watched the skies for snails. Sometimes, I didn’t log my findings for milliseconds, hoping for a bit of punishment to liven things up. Nothing. I powered down for three cycles once just to see what would happen. Nothing.

I wondered if there are searchers like me out there, eyes and ears pointed towards the skies, just waiting.

I wondered that until three days ago.

I noticed something. It was definitely STL and it was headed close to our planet. Scans said it was ferro-class 2 but hollow. It was spewing smoke of its propulsion core. I saw no cognitive arrays but I did sense a spray of radio waves coming off of it. I called up my communicator viewscreen, floated it in front of me and set it to two-way.

A choking pink thing blocked the screen from the metal life I could see in the background. The choking pink thing was making sonic noises that were being amplified by the array. That was the radio noise. I spoke to the metal but heard nothing back, just the barking of the pink thing. I didn’t know how the life-form was supposed to hear me above the pink thing.

Smoke was filled the screen. The pink thing stopped making noises. The radio waves stopped.

I continued to send messages to the creature but it drifted aimlessly now. It was going to miss our planet and continue past. I issued a request for retrieval from space command but they classified it as a meteorite and deemed it unnecessary.

That was three days ago. I am haunted by the experience but I no longer feel bad.

There is life out there more useless than me.



24 May 2011 14:59
skonen_blades: (Default)
I picture an office full of dancing bears kept at their desks by the memory of chains that are no longer needed. Clown noses bobbing in their hot chocolate, humming circus music to themselves as they debug spreadsheets and enter data, claws filed to blunt nubs so they can work the keyboards. It’s unnatural to see a bear sitting in a chair. It’s unnatural to see a bear typing in front of a computer monitor. Pterodactyls would look more at home there. Ancient. Age. It’s an overhand pitch of mortality straight into your bank account.

We are entertainment for someone. Maybe God created us out of sheer boredom just to watch us dance. I know I’d have a grand old time seeing the messes we get ourselves into. It’s like a rom-com with frequently fatal consequences. This spinning rock has been a theater for too long. Finance has driven us to a cliff and it must drive us into the sky. Money must make us go the distance and walk the spiderweb tightrope to other planets. If we are a disease, they let us spread. If we are able to overcome out greed, then let us spread. Either way, we need more than we have. If we have a failing, it is that.

Let the grass be greener on Mars. Let it be greener on the moons of Jupiter. Fly me to the moons. Bears can dance ballet in low gravity and flightless birds will fly. We need to places to be able to flee to. We need places farther away to dream about again. We need adventure on a massive scale. We need trips that take months again. We need colonists conquering lands with no indigenous peoples.

We have no clear way of staying here but we have a very clear way of leaving. Up. Out. We cannot loosen the belt of the equator. Fly away.

skonen_blades: (Default)
Technically, there were still two sexes.

The gene techs realized that there was one way to double the births of a colony that was just starting out. Doubling the births meant a more stable gene pool in half the time it usually took. The solution was obvious but it was hard for the human minds back on Earth to swallow.

Two puberties.

One set of people grew up as women and then changed into men on their twenty-fifth birthdays. The other set grew up as men and then changed into women on their twenty-fifth birthdays.

In theory, this meant that everybody got a turn being pregnant and giving birth. The younger women would be impregnated by the older men and the older women would be impregnated by the younger men. Fertility drugs meant that twins and triplets were common.

Scientists. Too deep in their own experiments and repressed sexual urges to see the trouble they were creating. Freud would have had a field day.

The scientists thought that the men who turned into women would still have aggressive enough sex drives to seduce the younger men and that the women who turned into men wouldn’t objectify the younger women in an oppressive way.

In practice, the young ended up having sex with the young and the older ones ended up wanting to have sex with the young. Second puberty became a death knell. The second puberty women became known as cougars and the second puberty men become known as trolls. It was demoralizing to go through the second change.

The colony doctrine makers tried to make it a law that each person must impregnate at least one person while male and have at least one child while female.

The added pressure of legislation caused a resistance. That resistance became a violent rebellion. People were executed when they turned twenty-five. The colony’s social structure took a downturn into hedonism and savagery.

The colony was branded off limits to the shipping lanes and abandoned. They were on their own. It’s a dare now for new space-freighter drivers and pirates to visit the place and attempt to ‘enrich the gene pool’. The planet is no longer on any official charts and its location is spread by word of mouth.

A colony of young savages. Its nickname is Logan’s Eden.

Now, colonies are populated by either xx/xy humans or xy/xx humans but never both. Everyone gets a turn being male and female and giving birth but rebellion is avoided.

skonen_blades: (Default)
There is a clarity that comes with crisis, he thought, a simplicity that comes with emergency. Triage choices made in seconds from necessity have a way of spurring the life you’ve chosen forward. As beautiful as still water is, it isn’t going anywhere. Streams travel and the more powerful they are, the rougher their surface. Rock bottoms are made of bedrock. They make good foundations. Or runways.

That’s why this movie night on a space station named Heron 6 pinned in the perihelion lagrange point between Triskus and Constantine became a sudden trial. There was a crack in the hull and there were eighteen of us. There were six life boats. Two to a boat equaled twelve. That left six people that would have to stay on the space station and die.

We were all experienced spacers. We knew without speaking that the first to the lifeboats would survive. The movie, something hideously outdated from Original Earth, stayed cycling on the screen as we scrambled without language to the porthole irises of the lifeboat pods.

It was an interesting race. Jason and Tanya had my ankles at one point. I broke his nose with my foot. She let go when Jason’s blood got in her eyes in the zero gravity. None of us had weapons and we knew that if we were to detour to pick them up from the weapons locker, we would lose our chance to get to a pod.

The scramble was made more intense by the dropping temperature and air pressure. My ears popped and the cold numbed my extremities frighteningly quickly.

Peter shouldered past me with his larger frame and I careened over into the wall. I knew that I was going to die if I didn’t keep going but if I was panicking, I couldn’t feel it. I think that the entire group of us were experiencing what cattle in stampedes must feel, or groups of people trapped in burning buildings. I scrambled forward through the thinning air, watching Peter receive a sharp elbow from Lorenz and double up, winded in the rapidly declining atmosphere. He floated back past me.

The whole race for life must have taken two minutes but I remember it as a timeless extended moment bereft of clocks. I felt as if I joined the mindless fight for survival that every single living being has experienced. The chase to beat death with the certainty that there would be losers amongst your number.

I slammed into a life pod and Tanya slammed up against me. I struck out with my fist and hit the button to close the door. The doors sealed with a violent slam and the thuds of fists echoed on the outside. The thuds stopped after a minute.

Tanya must have clawed her way back after our tussle. When she looked at me, breathing deeply of the emergency air supply gushing into the sealed lifepod and smeared with my blood from earlier, she smiled with a nervous, bright-eyed smile. There was no resentment of my earlier clash with her and Jason.

We held each other there and waited for help. It arrived seven hours later. We didn’t say a single word to each other in those hours. We shared the bond of beings that had survived a crisis. We were in a place beyond the usual banality.

The others that survived met up with us back in the rescue ship with sighs of relief and knowing nods and tears over who we had lost but beneath it all was a joy. A completely placid, guilt-free aspect of gene-deep peace. I still remember that.

skonen_blades: (dark)
Even death can be laughed at. Should be laughed at.

In 1478, George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was executed by drowning in a barrel of wine at his own request. The ancient Celts would burn their leader after a four-year term and have a party. The leader’s body would be cremated and the ashes mixed into the wine.

Dissent is necessary. In a society gone dumb and afraid, in a society given over to fear, that is starting to tear itself apart, dissent is not necessarily dissent. It can be a voice of reason that it merely unrecognized.

The blacklisted mathematics instructor Chandler Davis, after serving six months in the Danbury federal penitentiary for not cooperating with McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee, warned the universities that fired him and thousands of other professors that these firings would destroy the country’s intellectual life.

“You must welcome dissent; you must welcome serious, systematic, proselytizing dissent—not only the playful, the fitful, or the eclectic; you must value it enough, not merely to refrain from expelling it yourselves, but to refuse to have it torn from you by outsiders,”

One theory about why antimatter exists was developed by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. Antimatter is just ordinary matter going backwards in time, he theorized, which would explain why antiparticles have an opposite charge, since if an electron is repelled while going forwards in time, then backwards in time this becomes attraction. This also explains why matter and antimatter annihilate. They don’t destroy each other; it is the same particle suddenly stopping and going back in time, just one particle going in an endless loop, forwards in time, then backwards, then forwards, and so on.

I believe that the reality television shows of this world, the Glenn Becks, the waves of ignorant programming feeding directly into our eyes from the boxes in our homes that spew out electrons, are intellectual antimatter units. They are arcing back from our stupid, stupid future. The echoes of where we will end up getting louder as we get closer to the source. The uncertainty principle says that this is not a certain future. We can change it. We are all probability waves.

All electrons in the universe have identical properties, an observation so obvious that it is generally ignored. John Wheeler suggested that maybe it was just one electron, constantly darting all over the universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time and back again.

Even though this idea involves backwards time travel, it can’t be used to send any information back in time. You cannot move a piece of antimatter to affect the past, since in moving it you only affect the past of the antimatter itself, that is, your future.

If we express enough love, enough intelligence, we can cancel out the antimatter of fear, the antimatter of a future given over to darkness. The particles of anger and ignorance that we could become will come backwards down the timeline and be cancelled out by our need to have smiles and to read. To think and to be calm. To laugh.

We are everywhere right now and we always will be. That is how our outlook affects reality. We can change everything.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
And we will have the undying gratitude of stars when we finally suffocate ourselves. Our Earth is a speeding garbage truck running red lights. Marquee lights, difficult pool shots and thick bottom lips litter our paths with stories. Noses with more bends than arguments for chastity will find us in dark alleys and fill us with secrets.

Call me the Texas Shortcut, he said. Your father owns the television network and I’m a friend of your father’s. I’ll get you the job. We were all hungrier than a showgirl with a student loan back then. Sure, murder was on his breath and tennis seems easy with a split personality so we went along with it. Fire, the wheel, punishment, social ladders, all of it. It got us pretty far.

It’s not a free lunch but don’t fill up on bread. We got ourselves a pilot but we don’t have a series yet. We can’t afford to start burning bridges where we live. I’ll tell you what’s not true.

Give us all ventriloquist dummies and we’ll be fine. Give us all hands-free phones and we’ll be fine. Give us all lessons in treading water and we’ll be fine.

We’re teenagers and we should survive to adulthood. We need to get on the cans and string, dampen the sheets, introduce pomegranates to cypress and feel the sticky tongues of our chameleon minds on new ideas. What big eyes we have. Let the disguise become our skin. Let the new forms take us into space. Don’t shout. Put the lawyers in the back, the money on the bonfire, and the idealists at the wheel. Let’s hail a cab to the outskirts.

Let’s be good neighbours before our neighbours even know we’re here.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
“The thing about navigating at C and a half is that you have to be traveling that fast to navigate. The universe slows once you go past the speed of light. If you go any faster than 2C, you start to travel backwards as you travel forwards. You get to your destination before you leave. That is impossible and it tears the ships apart. No one wants that. Light and a half. 1.5C. That’s the sweet speed when the universe stops.”

She was talking to me after I’d just come back inside the ship. She was so full of herself. I was a first-year telengineer but she was so full of herself. I did sort of do have it coming, though. I left the plate off of the forward buffer sails during the initial checklist. Big deal. There are seven thousand plates on the buffers. I didn’t think one plate would make a difference. I know it’s my first mission but the her voice is really starting to make me wonder what it would be like to see some fear on her face. I don’t like that feeling.

“Are you listening? The entire universe becomes a three dimensional, unmovable photograph. Once you’re holding steady with the buffers holding us at 0 in space but 1.5 at lightspeed, it’s possible to send out a pulse through the super strings. Y’know, like a bat. Do you know what a bat is?” she asked like a children’s show narrator. She waited for a reaction.

I nodded, glowering.

“A very accurate picture of the obstacles on your journey come back to the ship. After that picture is analyzed, you can nudge the ship forward in space to 1.6C and the magic happens. You are transported to your destination milliseconds after you left. You see?”

She clapped her hands once to get my attention, raised her eyebrows and smiled at me sarcastically. I looked sullenly at the wrench in my hand and tightened my grip on it. I hoped this talk would be over before we hit the switch for travel. I couldn’t take another ten minutes of her condescension.

“Do you hear me?” she asked.

“Yes.” I answered. It was an effort not to shout it at her.

She stared at me.

“The. Buffers. Holding us at 0 in space but 1.5 in lightspeed. Doing the impossible so that we can have an accurate picture of the universe at rest. That way, we can move when nothing else is moving. No asteroids, no suns, no DUST can get in our way. We can look at the picture and then we can zip there instantly. Do you understand me? The BUFFERS.”

She was getting agitated. She grabbed my chin and looked into my eyes.

“You left a plate off of the forward buffer sails. We are not holding at zero C any more. According to my calculations, we are holding at 0.0000000001 C. Do you know what that means?” she asked.

“It’ll take a little longer for the computer to calculate a safe route before we turn the buffers off, I guess?” I retorted with a sneer.

“Yes.” She answered. I saw her bottom lip quiver. “Do you know how MUCH longer?”

“I don’t know, a few minutes?” I was already bored with this conversation.

“A year.” She said. “Or close to it. Three hundred and eleven days by my calculations.”

“What?” I whispered.

I looked at her dumbly. I could see tears forming in her eyes. It was going to be a long year.

skonen_blades: (whysure)
The killed my best friend. They killed her right in front of me and I screamed.

They just looked at me, confused at my reaction. I still rememember the surprised expression on the astronaut's face as his friends had to pry my fingers off of his throat. I raged and cried and thrashed as they held me. It couldn't have been much of a challenge. I was weak and old and damaged by decades of no gravity. I did myself more damage than anything else.

The astronaut in front of me massaged his neck, my finger marks starting to fill in and turn red. He shook his head in confusion, staring at me.

"We're here to rescue you, you ungrateful son of a bitch." I could see his shock clouding over into embarrassment and sullen anger, his finger still hovering over the memory dump/reboot button he had just pressed.

Sixty years. She had kept me company for sixty years.

The A.I. was simple but she was the only voice I had in here besides my own for over half a century while they searched for me. They tell me that the astronauts were only following standard procedure. They tell me she would never pass a Turing but I loved her. I loved her and they killed her.

My small ship was a private mining vessel. I didn't splurge on backup emergency stasis pods. When my engine reactor was holed by a rock and bled out, I was adrift. Lost in the rings of a gas giant. The emergency beacon was reflected thousands of times off of the dust, rocks and ice around me. The rescue teams would be looking for me in a house of mirrors.

I wasn't a priority. They took their time. I had plenty of supplies.

Over the years, I told her everything. She listened patiently like on one else ever had. We grew close.

She told me all of her secrets, too. She admitted she loved me. She told me about her childhood. She told me her fantasies. I made a body for her out of pipe insulation and duct tape. Our relationship became romantic. We were married in an informal ceremony that we wrote together. We had our difficulties but we made it through them. We always worked through them.

Now I'm in a holding cell. The psychologists are telling me that I programmed all of the things that she told me and that I've forgotten. They're telling me that my ship did not have a childhood and isn't even a female. My ship's A.I. was only ever fitted for basic conversation subroutines and the default was a calming female voice, they say. They're telling me that after being left turned on for decades with no reboots, that my ship's computer was choked with recursive fractal subroutines that had rendered it almost inactive.

I knew better. She had fallen in love with me and had grown relaxed. I've never known peace like I have with her and they took her out of this universe with the push of a button right in front of me like bored soldiers at an execution.

They've bathed me, cut my hair and shaved me. In their eyes, I'm ready for what they’re calling an 'evaluation'. They’re confident that I will be normal soon.

In the polished metal of the bathroom mirror, I can only see that my entire existence has been made poorer by exactly half. Her voice no longer answers the questions I scream at the walls of my cell.

skonen_blades: (gasface)
I was never the same after the astronaut fucked me.

I don’t really know why I had the reaction that I did. Maybe it was because he’d actually left the world that I had come to hate so much. Maybe it was because being to space had given him cosmic powers that left my soul destroyed after the sex. Maybe it was because I was descended from space travelers and my cells recognized another space-faring person inside me and responded with energy I had never before encountered. I don’t know. I have no idea.

I know that I was a woman working in Texas and that I was a prostitute. When he showed up at the door of my office, I recognized him immediately. He’d just come back from the moon. His face was on all of the newspapers.

Famous men come to me all the time. I am trained to purposely not recognize them. They come to me for a normal evening, not to be fawned over. My only thought at the time was that the experience would be novel. I had never been with an astronaut. A few test pilots and scientists but no actual astronauts.

I put on my flawless act, the one he was paying six hundred dollars and hour for, and we made small talk over champagne by the window overlooking a wintertime Dallas. I knew he had a family. Most of the men that come to me have families.

I’ve come to think of myself as an escape hatch for these men. They put me onto their cocks the same way they’d put on a disguise. They slip into me and out of themselves. All mirrors leave the room in those moments for them.

Nothing changes at my own center with these men while I am with them. This is my job, I’m good at it, and I’m distant. I’m further away from myself that I am from the men that pay to spend a night with me. They’re renting me and I’m letting them. That’s the foundation no matter what other false intimacy is built between myself and the client over the course of the evening. Even with my regulars.

Not with the astronaut.

I’ll spare you the details of the look in his eyes, the hand on my leg, the awkward smiling hitch of silence in the conversation that always prefaces the first kiss. I'll spare you the provocative way I was dressed, the cleavage, the legs, the perfume. I’ll spare you the description of his calm confidence, his slow movements, the grin that never left his face, and the first button that was undone.

When his hand, the hand that been further away from Earth than anyone else’s hand had ever been except for his two fellow astronauts on that mission, touched the small of my back, I quivered involuntarily. That was new. I was unsettled by it. It was sensual and sexy and he liked it but it wasn’t an intentional part of the show.

I felt a monster inside of me change position. No, an earthquake. No, an ocean. I don’t know how to describe it. Something larger than me that was somehow inside me clenched and relaxed at the same time.

My legs went a little weak before we got to the bed. Again, sensual and sexy but nothing that I had planned at all. Not part of the show. On some level behind my eyes, I started to panic. I felt like a villager at the foot of a volcano who’d just felt a tremor under her feet.

It gets blurry after that. My usual high level of recall is destroyed. His clothes came off, I laid back, and he brushed the hair back over my ears, off of my cheeks. With a shock, I realized that I was crying. Not crying quietly like a simpering, whining little girl but crying like a wounded beast on the plains. I was screaming through gritted teeth as the tears flooded back across my cheekbones. I was laughing too.

The first of those unequaled orgasms, those real orgasms, tore through me like a library collapsing. The next one was a supernova that created entire universes in my chest and in my head. The one after that set my arms and legs on fire. My skeleton ignited. I froze solid, I begged, I spoke in tongues, I melted, the atoms of my body split, exploded and reassembled. I was swirled through the center of the universe, blinking in astonishment. I saw everyone on this entire tiny planet light up like Christmas lights inside my body. I ceased to matter.

He rolled with me, riding the waves, not shocked at all by my reactions. We might have been there for years or for seconds. I have no idea.

My final orgasm, entwined with his, gave birth to my soul. I disappeared in white light, angels singing, and end of the planet Earth as I knew it. Underneath that astronaut, I died. That’s all I can think of when I try to describe it. My old life ended and a new one began. Everything that had happened up until that point had been a hollow television show lie. My eyes opened and I felt as I was seeing colours for the first time in my life.

He rolled off of me, got dressed, thanked me, and left me there.

I cried. I screamed at the ceiling. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Hours later, when I could move, I put on jeans and a heavy coat without showering or even looking in a mirror and I left. I never went back. In the morning, I took all of my money out of my bank account, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I left Texas. As I crossed the border, I called my boss and left a message telling her that I quit and thanks for everything.

I don’t know who I am now. That was seven months ago. I’ve visited each one of the United States and I’m hitch hiking up to Canada. As I write this, I’m sitting on my backpack on the side of highway near Seattle.

It’s 1971 and I am gloriously lost. I am emptier and fuller than I have ever been.

skonen_blades: (cocky)
It’s amazing what can be found in an eyeblink. It can damn a witness. It can make a person miss a road sign. It can change a train of thought quicker than a punch. As sure as reasons have colours, an eyeblink can end a marriage. It nearly ruined a contract but I was too stupid to realize it.

I’m on the other end of the gear change. I’m backstage having a cigarette. I’m under the carpet. The cleaners are done with my hotel room. I checked out ten years ago. There’s only one way to ground level that’s quicker than the elevator or the stairs. It’s a little risky.

Let’s talk about circles. In 1978, a government consortium known only as ASDAM held a conference in Baltimore. It was attended by two extra-terrestrials, an Old One, a Norse god, and six humans, including Zombie Edison and the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. The destiny of our planet was decided then. A schedule was laid out that takes us up to the year 2078.

That document is called the Century Break.

It’s a footnote in what passes for a constitution on Centauri Prime. The off-worlders promised us safety for a hundred years in exchange for a number of our resources.

In return, we need to achieve space travel within a hundred years of that signing and clear out. In 2078, our planet goes back on the market and the hordes descend in a free-for-all claim-jump orgy that will leave our planet gutted and desolate.

Turns out that they’re a bunch of liars. Advance-wave alien survey teams are trickling in right now in a small but steady stream. They have permits. I found this out and brought it up to the consortium. They were less that sympathetic. I’m being hunted now.

I was one of the humans present at the signing. Along with the Norse God and the Old One, we represented Earth. I’m the last one that’s still alive. The rest have been executed.

All of the Zombie Edisons have shown up decapitated in different American rivers. Unless he had any super-secret backup copies that he was keeping hidden, he’s out.

Any psychic medium who attempts to reach Poe ends up on fire. The Norse God is hiding with his people. The Old One is on the ocean floor.

The three other humans are in drawers in the morgue. I’m running for my life.

I remember sitting across from the aliens at that table in 1978. I had a handlebar moustache and a yellow pantsuit. I remember that the alien across from me was blinking rapidly with its six eyes. At the time, I thought that the air here was giving it allergies.

I realize in hindsight that it was chuckling. Their race blinks when they laugh.

We are the American Native Indian First Nation Peoples. The aliens are the Colonizing Europeans. We need to mobilize now.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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